Bihar polls 2015: US think tank shows interest in India’s internal affairs

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The forthcoming Bihar polls, this month, will be the biggest test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi so far, a top American think-tank has said. It said that its developments results be felt far away from Bihar.

“Whatever the Bihar voters may decide, the ramifications will be felt far beyond Bihar’s borders,” scholars Milan Vaishnav and Saksham Khosla of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a top US think tank said, on 30 September.

They said the Bihar polls, which begin on October 12 and conclude on November 8, will be the “biggest test” for the BJP government at the Centre, so far.

If it wins, it would bring the BJP closer to a majority in the Rajya Sabha and boost its chances ahead of the West Bengal, UP and Gujarat polls, in 2016 and 2017.

Since Modi has matched his own reputation with the election campaign if it fails it would be a big blow, especially after announcing a Rs 1.25 lakh crore (419 billion) economic package for Bihar, said the Carnegie scholars.

Also, the polls could either make or break the careers of chief minister Nitish Kumar and his new found ally Lalu Prasad Yadav. “Kumar’s star, once among the brightest of all state leaders, has dimmed after the 2014 general election debacle. For Yadav, who will likely return to jail to serve time for a corruption conviction, a victory would maintain his and his family’s relevance in state politics,” said the think tank .

“Forming an alliance in Bihar would provide some comfort to the Congress despite recent electoral defeats and boost the status of the heir-in-waiting, Rahul Gandhi,” they said.

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